‘We will keep tweeting’, leaders of 27 civil societies dare FG

'We will keep tweeting', leaders of 27 civil societies dare FG

‘We will keep tweeting’, leaders of 27 civil societies dare FG



Following the controversial suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria and a threat by the Attorney General General of the Federation (AGF) to arrest Nigerians who remain active on the microblogging site, leaders of some 27 civil socities in the country have dared the federal government.

In a press statement collectively signed by them, titled “We Will Keep Tweeting”, they referred to the action of the federal government as trannical in the opening quote of the statement attributed to Nigeria’s literature Nobel Laurate, Wole Soyinka thus: “The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.”

The full statement read:

“We are leaders of civil society organisations that work on governance, corruption, elections, digital rights & inclusion, women’s rights and journalism in Nigeria.

“We strongly support statements released by various civil society organisations and other stakeholders, condemning the suspension of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria, as this represents a continued assault on the civic space and anti-democratic clampdown on free speech.

“We are also aware of the statement credited to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, threatening to arrest anyone who continues to tweet after the announced suspension.

“We, therefore, wish to categorically say that we, as individuals, and our organisations, do not know any law that the act of sharing information breaks, and will continue to use Twitter, other social media platforms, and other media channels, to share information and engage with citizens.

“We note that Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) makes it impossible to convict any person for a criminal offence if that offence is not defined and its penalty not prescribed in a written law. On the power of Section 36(12) which protects a fundamental human right, we therefore note and state unequivocally that the Attorney General’s statement threatening to prosecute citizens using Twitter contravenes the Constitution and is a violation of human rights and an utter abuse of power.

“We stand with Nigerians who continue to exercise their fundamental human rights, especially as we will be celebrating Democracy Day on Saturday, June 12.

“God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!”

List of the 27 leaders:

  1. ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
  2. ‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria
  3. Adebayo Raphael, Centre for Liberty
  4. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  5. Cheta Nwanze (@chxta)
  6. Chioma Agwuegbo, TechHerNG
  7. Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
  8. Concerned Nigerians
  9. Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programs, Yiaga Africa
  10. Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI)
  11. Dorothy Njemanze, Executive Director, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
  12. Edetean Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda
  13. Hamzat Lawal, Connected Development [CODE] / Follow The Money
  14. Joshua Olufemi, Founder, Dataphyte
  15. Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
  16. Kolawole Oluwadare, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  17. Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development (LIRAD)
  18. Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA)
  19. Nana Nwachukwu
  20. Nelson Olanipekun, Citizen Gavel
  21. Olabukunola Williams, Executive Director, Education as a Vaccine
  22. Oluwatosin Alagbe, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism
  23. Raising New Voices Initiative
  24. Seun Onigbinde, Director, BudgIT
  25. Tunde Aremu
  26. Udy Akpan, Executive Director, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF)
  27. Y.Z Y’au, Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)